Both Christian and non-Christian therapists can conduct effective online therapy, but they have their fair share of differences when it comes to their therapeutic approach. If you are unsure whether to choose a Christian or secular online therapist, you may be happy to hear that there is no wrong selection selection, as both prove to very helpful to Christians of faith. Here is a guide to understanding the nuances before making a decision.
What does an online session with a Christian therapist look like?
Over the years, there have been many ways to obtain Christian therapy services. Some of the most convenient ways to find accessible Christian counseling have historically been via your local church or community center. These options are typically free or very low cost, with the goal being to offer Christian therapy and guidance in a way that reduces barriers and increases access to care.
However, with our lives more hectic than ever, and with the modern conveniences of the digital world at our disposal, many Christians are turning online to receive virtual counseling from Christian therapists. If you’re Christian and wondering why you should consider an online therapist that is faith-based (instead of one who isn’t), the main reason is because it can be extremely comforting and reassuring to know that your counselor understands your values. After all, our values largely shape our worldview, and our worldview affects how we cope with the world around us on a day-to-day basis.
When analyzing your daily life, strengths, weaknesses, and emotional wellbeing, it’s natural for your faith to come up in counseling sessions. The difference between a Christian online therapist and a non-Christian online therapist is that if you’re a devout Christian who chooses a non-Christian therapist, your counselor’s lack of understanding of Christianity may diminish the effectiveness of your therapy sessions. You want the best therapy that you can receive, so if you’re strong in your Christian values, a Christian therapist can better provide you with the online counseling you need — all the while ensuring that you’re also strengthening your relationship with God.
There is nothing wrong with specifically wanting faith-based therapy, and it’s a blessing that there are more Christian counselors than ever before offering virtual therapy. At the end of the day, there is peace to be found in faith and in the knowledge that you are not alone in this world. A Christian therapist differs from a non-Christian therapist in that a Christian therapist will not only help you address your emotions but do so with Christian values in mind.
What does an online session with a non-Christian therapist look like?
When initiating conversations during your sessions, a non-Christian therapist will not bring God or Christianity into your counseling conversations. While a great online secular therapist will absolutely work to address any issues in relation to your faith, religion is likely not a topic they discuss everyday with clients. And even if you were to find a non-Christian therapist online who is familiar with Christianity, that may not be enough for a devout Christian with faith-based needs.
On the other hand, if you’re not religious and/or not Christian, a non-Christian online therapist will focus on other aspects of your life — besides your faith or lack thereof. Non-Christian therapists won’t prompt you with questions or topics related to your relationship with God, but instead will focus on the many other facets of life that affect your emotional well-being. Whether you’re already strong in faith or don’t have a specific faith, there is plenty of value in focusing on secular therapy that allows you to experience the benefits of counseling online.
Keep in mind that even if you’re a devout Christian, there are plenty of wonderful and highly qualified secular therapists online. Likewise, if you’re not Christian, you may find that the services offered by a Christian online therapist may be exactly what you need. The differences are rather nuanced and largely relate to your values and needs in relationship to your mental well-being.
Should I choose a Christian online therapist or an online therapist who is secular?
Therapy is all about growing, learning strategies to improve your quality of life, and optimizing your mental health. Therefore, when searching for a great online therapist, finding someone with whom you connect is more important than anything. The decision at the end of the day is up to you. As long as you’re prioritizing your mental health, you’re already winning.